For all of its countless health benefits and wonderful flavour, indulging in garlic almost feels like a guilty pleasure. We’ve all been there - you spot a perfectly roasted garlic clove or three swimming around in the bottom of a bowl of roast potatoes, and it’s met with hesitation. “Should I? Shouldn’t I? What about tomorrow? But I don’t want to scare my work colleagues...”
Often the first ingredient to hit the pan in many Mediterranean, Asian, African, and European dishes, garlic, officially named Allium sativum and unofficially labelled ‘the stinking rose,' is our hero ingredient in May, and will touch each course of the degustation. And while we can’t guarantee popularity among those within close proximity of you the next day, we can promise it’ll be worth it.
Garlic, closely related to onion, leek, chive and shallot, is a staple in our kitchens year round, though it hits its peak at the first signs of summer. These pungent little bulbs are grown in massive quantities in California, with most of the production being churned out of Gilroy (the southernmost city in Santa Clara County), also known as ‘the garlic capital of the world.' Considering the city produces over 660 million pounds of garlic annually, we’ll give Gilroy those bragging rights. Each year, the city draws a crowd over 100,000 visitors, who come to celebrate the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which is a 3-day event studded with live music, cooking demonstrations, arts and crafts, and garlic laced foods. In addition to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, America’s culinary darling and fellow seasonal ingredient enthusiast, Alice Waters, celebrates this essential ingredient by hosting a garlic-themed dinner once a year, held every Bastille Day at Chez Panisse.
We are looking forward to hosting our own garlic celebration at Maude for the entire month of May. From colossal-sized elephant garlic to green garlic, which closely resembles leek, to fermented, molasses-like black garlic and garlic scapes, which are the flower stalks of hard neck garlic plants; you bet we are eager to cook with and get to know this diverse spring ingredient inside out. We hope you can join us to celebrate, taste and come to appreciate this kitchen staple in a whole new light.
Reservations for May's Garlic Menu open 1st April 2016.